We’re somewhat nearing the end of the winter season (though, when it comes to the weather we get here in Calgary, it will come as no surprise if we get snow all the way till May) -- and it almost becomes a mini challenge to find ways to stay both warm and entertained during this time of year. Before we had kids, I used to always try and plan a vacation somewhere warm (e.g. Mexico). But life just hasn’t allowed for that kind of luxury in recent years (I’m currently trying to convince Nick to consider somewhere like Hawaii next January, as it’s been years since we’ve gone away together for longer than a night or two). However, during these times we try to make the most of what our city has to offer.
That said, if you live in Calgary and aren’t living under a rock, you’ll have heard about the opening of the new Central Library located downtown. Even though it hasn’t been open for very long, I seriously felt a tinge of jealousy/FOMO every time I came across a photo of the building, as I’m absolutely stunned at the architectural detailing of it all. So back in December, I told Evanna’s Developmental Specialist (her assigned worker from school) that I would like to plan a little family field trip to the Central Library on a day that Nick was home too, and spend an afternoon exploring everything it has to offer.
So last week, we did just that! First, I was very happy at how accessible the library is (both for special needs reasons and for any mama sporting a stroller), and that it’s right along the CTrain line. If I was back in college, I totally would have done so much studying here on my way home from SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) since its location is halfway between the school and where I used to live. In fact, I probably would have made the TD Reading Room my second home. I have an extremely hard time staying focused and doing school work when I’m at home (too many distractions like the TV), so I would either stay at school and work in the library or hit up the closest Starbucks and study there (sounds weird, but I do some of my best studying in busy cafes).One look at the TD Reading Room and I almost wish that I was back in college, so I had an excuse to head there and study my brains out. That said, a few times a month, during a stretch of Nick’s days off, I do pack up my laptop and head to a nearby café where I make myself at home and try to catch up on emails, DMs, comments, and other social media/blog commitments… so maybe I’ll have to spend one of those days down at the Central Library within the pretty amazing TD Reading Room -- which conveniently hosts a Luke’s coffee shop a few floors down.
While we were there, we also checked out a book called Giraffe and Bird, which was written and illustrated by Canadian author Rebecca Bender and was the selected title for the 2018 TD Grade One Book Giveaway. Each year, the program provides more than 500,000 English and French books to grade one students across Canada to take home and read with their families, as TD is committed to giving youth access to reading programs.
The book is about a giraffe and bird (obviously) who don’t get along very well and essentially make each other miserable. They decide to part ways, but after a big storm, they realize they need one another and end up reuniting… while laughably still getting on each other’s nerves. I couldn’t help but associate the relationship of the Giraffe and Bird to Evanna and Bennett, and I hope that one day they too need each other, despite driving the other crazy! It’s a great read that is well written, and I can easily see why it was chosen to be this year’s book. The book has recently been added to our own little collection, and Nick has read it to Evanna and Bennett several times over the past month, and they both seem to enjoy.
If you haven’t been down to the Central Library here in Calgary, I truly recommend it. The location makes for a perfect meetup location with friends that live on the opposite ends of the city to get together for a playdate/coffee/chat, plus provides a great setting for a business meeting with a new client. A quick search through hashtags show it’s truly a photographer’s paradise with stunning backdrops and LOTS of natural lighting! They offer so many different activities and resources such a storytime for kids (which Evanna thoroughly enjoyed!), many spaces to study – and what caught my attention the most was a resource centre for those with special needs (on the 2nd floor just opposite of the children’s area). I unfortunately wasn’t able to fully investigate what this program entails as we were busy running after Bennett. I overheard some new volunteers during an orientation discussing the resource centre. I definitely intend to find out more next time I go!
I definitely intend to visit again soon, as I feel there were so many other sections of the library that went unexplored (I don’t think we even touched the 3rd floor), and maybe even actually check out some other books too! We have been blessed by a large collection of books here at home (though, we definitely need to invest in some more book shelves to help display them in a better fashion).
Finally, if you’d like to win a copy of this book, as well as a few other cute giraffe and bird themed goodies, head over to this Instagram post and leave a comment!
xo The Irvine Family
This sponsored blogpost was done in partnership with TD Bank, but the review of this book and the Calgary Central Library contains opinions + thoughts that are completely my own.